Sunday, August 26, 2012

An Interview with Writer and Director L. Gustavo Cooper

I'm really stoked to have done this interview. Ever since the first details about Mr. Cooper's newest project, Velvet Road surfaced, I have been intrigued. Having traveled all over the place with the short film and promoting it in festivals, he was nice enough to answer a few of my questions. Photo © Jensen Hande 2012

Ok, first off, tell me about Velvet Road. I've seen a lot about it. What is your role in this project?

I’m the director of Velvet Road, The film is about a man journey in the final moments of his life. its a film about choices and the idea that we all make them. The idea of hatred and ignorance being a powerful weapon against our society. The film itself takes place during the Civil rights movement during the height of racial tension in the deep south. I wrote the short film in college and made it my senior year.

Tell me how long you have been into filming and how you got into it. I assume it's from filming skateboarding?

I used to film when I skated in order to get sponsors and to push me and my friends to do cool stuff. Then we started editing and that turned into a 411 show. Realized that I couldn't skate my whole life so I went to school.

What were your first and most memorable cameras to use, and what is your favorite type of equipment to use now?

When I started I used a VX1000 it was like the skating standard at the time.
I now like anything that does the job... I use the right camera for whatever aesthetic I'm looking for. I actually don't shoot really anymore... I write and Direct everything. Because I’m so heavily camera oriented its easy to communicate to the crew and my director of photography.

I remember being so stoked on that 411 show when it came out. Was that a paying gig? Whatever happened to it? It seemed like that was about the time that 411 was finished making videos and was becoming online-only, right?

Yeah it's was around that time. It was not a paying gig. It was more of a fun thing.

Velvet Road /// Behind The Scenes from L. Gustavo Cooper on Vimeo.
So do you do much with skateboarding anymore? I remember seeing some rad photos that I think Shrickling took back in the day and being really stoked on them.

Yeah and no, I mean - skating use to be everything to me and it got to a point where life was changing but the people around me were not. So I started to focus on the positive and progression of reality.

What would you say your main hobbies are lately?

I like to build stuff like tables and shelves and whatnot... Filmmaking has become my life and that's really all I think about these days. I write a lot now.

It's awesome to hear that you are writing and directing. Making it happen! I have had so many friends from skateboarding that seem to have just fallen off in life.

Do you think that skateboarding contributed to your creative spirit, or do you think that's more of something that was just there from the beginning? I mean being creative, making things.

Yeah skateboarding gave me a lot of persistence... It taught me the idea of networking and that it's all who you know and surround yourself with. Skateboarding definitely taught me to have thick skin.

Who are some of your favorite skateboarders of all time?

Some of my favorite skateboarders of all time would have to be Mike Peterson of course, Heath Kirchart, and Marc Johnson.

Are there any other local film dudes/ projects you are stoked on right now? Anything Else you’d like to add?

I'm stoked on anyone who truly tries to do something passionately and shares that effort with the world.

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